Eating disorder treatment refers to evidence-based mental health treatment, in conjunction with medical monitoring and treatment, along with access to nutritional intervention and other services as needed. Treatment can be delivered through digital, telehealth and/or face-to face interventions.
Eating disorder treatment is provided by a multidisciplinary team, with a mental health professional and medical practitioner as a minimum. Dietitians, psychiatrists and paediatricians can often be an integral part of the multidisciplinary team, with other professionals as needed (e.g., peer support workers, exercise physiologists). In the case of self-help or brief digital therapies, the person may not have a multidisciplinary team, but should be connected to medical care to ensure safety. You can read more about the eating disorder care team here.
There are three levels of treatment within the stepped system of care for eating disorders – community-based, community-based intensive, and hospital and residential. Treatment intensity increases across these three levels. A person may commence treatment at any level, depending on their needs. Coordination across these levels of care, and service navigation support, are crucial to improving the outcomes and experiences of people with lived experience and their families/supports and communities.
Two key functions of the eating disorder treatment system are to respond to the broad range of eating disorders through the provision of early intervention and accessible, evidence-based community treatment, and to provide immediate treatment for people with acute health and/or mental health needs. Every region of Australia requires access to these services in line with its specific needs.
We encourage you to read the Treatment section in the National Strategy for further information about areas of focus in treatment, as well as standards and actions for building this element of the system of care. Please see pages 49-64.
Click to read more about the Stepped System of Care.